It was the Swiss Count Heidegger, who arrived in England in 1708, who introduced masquerades at the Opera House in the Haymarket. Although often linked to licentiousness and scandal, with Heidegger being presented as 'the principal promoter of vice and immorality' by a Middlesex grand jury in 1729, the masquerades became immensely popular. An attempt was made to obtain an act of parliament for their suppression, however the only effect was a royal proclamation announcing that they were to be referred to as ridottos, or balls instead of masquerades. Nevertheless, Heidegger was made Master of Revels to King George II, who was known to have patronised the events. Henry Fielding, in his poem The Masquerade (1728), remarked:
"So for his ugliness more fell
Was H-d-g-r-toss'd out of hell,
And in return by Satan made
First Minister of Masquerade"